The Stark County Political Report has for a number of years been an advocate of the rebirth of the Stark County Republican Party.
Because political competition in Alliance, Canton, Massillon and countywide in Stark County should make for more creative, innovative and energetic government.
The Stark GOP is in pathetic shape these days. The Report thinks it got that way through the lackluster leadership of Board of Elections member Curt Braden and Board of Elections Deputy Director Jeff Matthews.
However, local Republicans are not of a mind to change the broken leadership resident at 2727 Fulton Drive NW.
So the prospects of a revival of the county party are not good. Oh yes, Janet Weir Creighton will win in November. But that will be a "personal" win. It is not a signal that Stark County politics is in for a shift from predominant Dems to resurgent GOPers.
Okay, but what does this point have to do with "What you don't know can hurt you?"
Here's the SCPR's take.
Lately, The Repository has taken to writing about the highly partisan Michael Cunnington's "grassroots?" attempt to turn Canton from a "statutory" city into a "charter" city. The Repository stories include: Meeting set to discuss charter government in Canton (Balint - May 31st), Share your thoughts on city charter, (Editorial - June 3rd) and Charter plans not yet specific, (Balint - June 4th).
It appears to the SCPR that the person "really" behind the reorganization of Canton city government is none other than W.R. Timken, Jr.
How can The Report say that?
A clue is Timken's (who is currently chairman of the board of directors of The Timken Company) recent association with the the Strategic Public Partners Group.
And, of course, anyone who has lived in Stark County for any length of time knows that whatever Timmy Timken wants will be mirrored by the poohbahs at The Repository.
The Report's hypothesis is that Timken has decided that Canton needs to be a charter city and he has chosen his company Strategic Public Partners Group (owned by committed Republicans) to go out and hire local Republican insider Michael Cunnington (former executive director of the Stark County Republican Party) who - because of Timken's control over The Rep - gets carte blanche to an entity that buys ink by the barrel and, in the words of former executive editor David Kaminski (now with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce) views itself as a "800-pound gorilla."
Another tip-off that The Repository is on a mission to take on the Stark County Democrats is its recent foray into the flap about the "letter of arrangement" between the State of Ohio Auditor's office and the Stark County commissioners.
Remember The Rep's editors chastising the commissioners' for not knowing about the letter (which the Auditor suggested to Zeigler's office that it be kept secret from the general public).
Remember also that the editors attributed the "not knowing" - an absurdity, to say the least - to the fact that all three commissioners are Democrats.
The point? The editorial board has adopted the viewpoint that all that ails Canton and Stark County is attributable to Democratic dominance.
While the SCPR is for a healthy Republican Party, The Report does not think for one nanosecond that Republicans offer any panaceas for Stark's troubles.
There is a powerful argument to be made that both political parties are bankrupt on new ideas and the creative energy to implement them and that there needs to be a third political party option.
The SCPR is close to this option, but just not the Tea Party. It is too much timed to the radical right of the Republican Party. Hopefully, in the near future a saner option surfaces.
Okay, Olson; get back to "What you don't know can hurt you."
Rather than offer the Canton voting public superior candidates (e.g. Mark Butterworth - Republican 8th Ward) backed by a first-rate party organization, the SCPR suspects that the Republicans from W.R. Timken down through the thoroughgoing Republican owned Strategic Public Partners Group to Cunnington as aided and abetted by The Repository are trying to re-create Canton government for partisan purposes; not necessarily the public good.
And, if the "real" motive is political rather than for the public good, then Canton will be hurt by the expenditure of all the time and effort required to reinvent Canton. It is time an effort that would be better used by all of these players to roll up their sleeves and work, work, work to get Canton and all of Stark County on a positive economic development track.
The form of Canton's government whether statutory or charter is probably six one and half of a dozen of another. In other words, a mixed bag.
When the Republicans were out of power in the state legislature, one of the devices they concocted to get back in power was term limits. The idea? Force those entrenched Democrats out of office and then we have a chance to win those districts when facing a non-incumbent.
Have term limits improved the quality of the policy decision coming out of Columbus?
Did Republican dominance in place of Democrat dominance change things for the better in Ohio?
A case can be made that term limits hurt Ohio by depriving it of long term leadership that becomes expert enough to combat the lobbying interests that now dominate Columbus.
Moreover, you have situations like we have in Stark with Scott Oelslager and Kirk Schuring trading the 29th Senate district and the 51st House district back and forth to avoid the spirit of term limits.
A final word.
Ed Balint of The Repository did an incomplete job of reporting the obvious Republican push behind the Cunnington effort. Reading between the lines, one can smell out the Cunnington agenda.
A superficial check on the Internet would have revealed a wealth of information to Balint about the Timken, Strategic Public Partners Group, Cunnington and Republican nexus.
Even Cunnington senses that his pure-bred Republican connection will not go over well in this overwhelmingly Democratic city. Accordingly, he goes out and rounds up Democrat Mayor Healy and Councilman Smuckler for reaction.
Cantonians should be wary of the Cunnington effort. It seems rather obvious to the SCPR that the effort is more about helping the Republican Party cause than the citizens of Canton. Efforts like these need to be led by the politically disinterested.
Here are just a few Internet pieces that show the connections referred to in the body of this blog: